Spring Road Status
During spring, park roads may close due to ice, especially at high elevation where wet roads can freeze as temperatures drop at night. For road status information call (865) 436-1200 ext. 631 or follow updates at http://twitter.com/SmokiesRoadsNPS. More »
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Closes All Park Caves to Protect Bats
Contact: Bob Miller, (865) 436-1207
In response to a growing concern about a new malady that has killed an estimated 400,000 bats in the Northeast, managers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park have closed all of its caves to public entry until further notice.
According to biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a condition called White-nose Syndrome (WNS) is taking a heavy toll on bats that hibernate in caves and mines in nine states from Virginia north to New Hampshire. WNS is named for a white fungus that shows up on the faces of bats, including the endangered Indiana Bat. The Indiana bat has been recorded in the Park and is among several species of special concern relative to this disease.
Did You Know?
An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls. More...